The Vegan 8

The Vegan 8With 100 delicious recipes, The Vegan 8 by Brandi Doming offers simple, healthy dishes made from eight ingredients or less (not including salt, pepper, or water).Beautiful photographs accompany the scrumptious recipes making the book a feast for the eyes, not just the palate.

Right away, the cookbook demonstrates its uniqueness. The “My Pantry” section is different than other cookbooks providing comprehensive information on spices, non-dairy milk and yogurt, liquid flavorings, flours, nut butter, and starches. Here, Doming indicates which are available commercially and recommended brands and which ones best made from scratch. Many of the descriptions included insight that was new and fascinating to me!

Every chapter is filled with enticing recipes written in a conversational style and labeled nut-free, gluten-free, or oil free as relevant along with the expected prep and cook time. The dishes utilize ingredients in interesting and unconventional ways I had never imagined before such as Pizza Quesadillas using mashed potatoes. Doming emphasizes non-commercial food for the most part but when an ingredient needs to be purchased, she recommends brands and where to purchase them.

Notes for recipes provide very clear information about what substitutions are possible or not advisable and give insight into what gives the dish its signature characteristics such as creaminess. Tips offer ways to enhance recipes, rework them based on allergies (or lack thereof), or to make them more kid-friendly.

I am a disaster in the kitchen, and some of the recipes intimidated me a little because of the preparations involved (or the need for a Vitamix), but I was still very interested in trying them. While I found dishes in every chapter that I wanted to attempt (the soups look particularly creamy and the sides delicious, particularly Almond-Coated Asparagus with Dijon-Tahini Sauce), I thought the Easy Entrees and Staples chapters were most relevant to me. The chickpea dishes–Protein-Packed Curry Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Rounds and Spicy and Smoky Chickpeas in Creamy Tomato Sauce–immediately caught my attention. The Ultimate BBQ Bean Ball Sub looks like a tasty sandwich from one of my favorite vegan restaurants. From Staples, I wanted to make the Emergency BBQ Sauce and the Sesame Teriyaki Sauce posthaste. The Desserts chapter offers options for every taste–chocolate lovers, peanut butter fanatics, fruit fans, or gingerbread enthusiasts.

This cookbook will delight vegans and non-vegans alike and provide strategies for making tastier, healthier dishes.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Book Group for providing an electronic advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Vegan Yack Attack on the Go

Vegan Yack Attack on the Go: Plant-Based Recipes for Your Fast-Paced Vegan Lifestyle

Jackie Sobon

©️2018

Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am a disaster in the kitchen. I don’t enjoy cooking or baking, and I often screw up recipes. When I saw this book, with a mission to provide “a wide variety of meals that are fun, tasty, and quick to put together,” I thought, “This book gets me!”

Like many vegan cookbooks, the introduction begins with a list of essential pantry staples and necessary kitchen equipment (nothing a normally stocked kitchen is likely to be without).

Vegan Yack Attack on the Go includes a number of delicious-sounding recipes paired with stunning food photography. I haven’t had quiche since I became vegan over ten years ago, and the Crustless Quiche Bites caught my attention.

I would like to eat some of the White Bean Rosemary Hummus this minute! For me, the thirty minute or less chapter is perfect…One Pot Pasta, Summer Stew, and Butternut Mac and Trees are on my menu. The Baked Balsamic Tofu over Mixed Greens makes my mouth water.

The cookbook includes food I would never image but want to make: Campfire Banana Splits, Pastry-Wrapped Carrot Dogs, and Peanut Butter S’mores Dip are treats to take to barbeques or pot luck dinners. Few cookbooks devote a chapter to these dishes that can be taken to foodcentric social events, and it’s nice to have a wide selection here.

The instructions for the dishes are clear and simple. I think even I could be successful following these recipes! None of the ingredients seem obscure or difficult to find in a grocery store. What makes the cookbook unique, though, is the emphasis on simplicity, meal planning and making in advance, and portability.

Sobon provides guides that appear with each recipe: less than ten ingredients (definitely up my alley), one-pan (all right!), portable, make-ahead, and sugar/soy/nut/oil/gluten free.

I definitely think this will be a much-used cookbook in our house!

Frozen Banana Bites

frozen chocolate banana bitesOn hot and humid days like today, a cool treat provides some relief from the oppressive air. Something new I tried recently was making frozen banana bites. If I made it, truly absolutely anyone can do it.

Ingredients

Bananas

Peanut Butter

Vegan Chocolate

Directions

Cut bananas into slices about 1/4th of an inch. Put a glob of peanut butter on a banana slice and top with a second slice. Put into freezer until solid. (You could experiment with waiting to freeze the bites until after covered with chocolate, but mine were too unstable to cover without freezing first.)

Melt chocolate. I used about half a bag of Enjoy Life Mega Chunks and melted the chunks in the microwave. The melted chocolate was a little thick, so I diluted it with water. Using a fork, I submerged the bites into the melted chocolate and then placed them in a plastic container. They fit in a single layer. If you have a smaller container, use wax paper to keep bites from freezing together.

Put back in freezer for several hours.

Enjoy!

frozen banana chocolate bites

Ithaca’s Reputation

Although I would kill my students if they used Wikipedia as a reference, I found the following blurb about Ithaca’s culture on the online encyclopedia:

Ithaca is commonly listed among the most culturally liberal of American small cities. The Utne Reader named Ithaca “America’s most enlightened town” in 1997. According to ePodunk’s Gay Index, Ithaca has a score of 231, versus a national average score of 100. Like many small college towns, Ithaca has also received accolades for having a high overall quality of life. In 2004, Cities Ranked and Rated named Ithaca the best “emerging city” to live in the United States. In 2006, the Internet realty website “Relocate America” named Ithaca the fourth best city in the country to relocate to. In July 2006, Ithaca was listed as one of the “12 Hippest Hometowns for Vegetarians” by VegNews Magazine and chosen by Mother Earth News as one of the “12 Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of.

In the New York Democratic Primary, Obama won one county in New York–Tompkins (Newsweek coverage). Can’t imagine a place being more ideal for me.